Document 17223

September 2011 Issue 124
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In this issue:
When things don’t go quite to plan...
When Scratching is More than an Itch - Obstetric Cholestasis
Cow’s Milk Protein Intolerance and Severe Reflux
Elimination Communication - Nappy Free from Birth!
Plus Birth Stories, Breastfeeding Advice, Events and more!
Covering North Derbyshire, Bakewell and the Hope Valley
©NCT 2011 Alexandra House, Oldham Terrace London W3 6NH, Registered charity no. 801395
Advertising - Canvas factory and Ottertots
New Classes in Staveley from
September 2011
In this issue...
Chesterfield Branch Newsletter
September 2011
Issue 124
Recent Events
What are the NCT up to?
Elimination Communication—Beth’s experiences of going nappy
free from birth!
Antenatal Classes with the NCT
Events Calendar! Pull out and Pin up
Catherine’s experiences of premature birth
Ruth’s Infant Feeding Advice Page
New Arrivals A section where we celebrate some new arrivals
from over the last few months.
20 - 21
When Scratching is more than an itch—Obstetric Cholestasis
22- 23
Coping with Severe Reflux
Ask an Expert and Meet a Member!
Each issue you’ll get a chance to have your questions answered
by our panel and we’ll be interviewing members of Chesterfield’s
NCT branch.
Your Committee Contact Details and NNS Sales in the Area
From the editors...
Hello and Welcome to Patter!
We hope you enjoyed the last issue of Patter with its new features. We’re
thrilled to bring you this new issue packed with articles including more of
your birth stories, your new arrivals, and your burning questions to direct
to our panel of experts.
Parenthood is often full of challenges and surprises. In this issue we have
some very personal articles sharing experiences of difficult pregnancies,
early labours and coping with a child with severe reflux. We also have a
follow on article from the last issue of Patter where Beth Roche shares her
experiences of Elimination Communication (aka early infant potty training).
We hope you enjoy what this issue has to offer and if you’d like to
contribute to the next issue please do get in touch with us at
[email protected]
Best wishes,
Gemma and Tara x
The following words and phrases used within Patter are all Trademarks:
NCT, National Childbirth Trust, Bumps and Babies, Patter
Chesterfield Branch Newsletter ©NCT 2011
The National Childbirth Trust, Registered Office, Alexandra House, Oldham
Terrace, London, W3 6NH
Registered No. 2370573 Charity No. 801395
The line art graphics used within Patter are all copyright and permission to
use them must be gained from Michelle Lancaster. No photographs may be
reproduced without permission from Chesterfield NCT.
The views expressed in this Newsletter are not necessarily those of the editors
or the National Childbirth Trust (NCT). Also, the appearance of an
advertisement in this Newsletter does not imply endorsement of the company
or it’s products by the NCT, nor does it constitute a recommendation.
Advertisement: Swimbabes
What have I missed?
Where does the time go when you’re
having fun hey? I can’t believe that I’m
writing about our goings on again so soon.
To be fair, I have had another babe in
the mean time so as you all know....those
first few weeks are a blur so I have lost a
few weeks / months since I last updated
Well we’ve had some lovely days out since
Feb. The most memorable include our trip
Sand fun at Chatsworth farm park
to the Butterfly House and also Chatsworth
Farm Park. The Butterfly House was great if a little chilly thanks to our lovely
British climate. We had a good turnout, the little ones enjoyed all the animals and
I think the Parrott show got big thumbs up. My own favourite was the actual
butterflies; they are so beautiful.....if a little unnerving when they land on you.
As mentioned we also had a trip out to Chatsworth Farm Park in May. What a
lovely place it is. Again sadly the weather did not play its part but we all had fun
despite the cold and rain. The little ones loved the animals and one or two little
monkeys got very wet and dirty in
the sand pit as can be seen in the
photos included.
We’ve also been out and about at
our usual places such as Linacre
Woods and Chesterfield canal, for
walks and play. All our get together
are fun and it’s great for mums and
dads to meet others alike and I’ve
certainly built up some excellent
friendships over the last couple of
years through the NCT. Obviously
Out and About
What have I missed?
it’s great for the little ones too.
Sadly I’m leaving the role of Parent
Support and Activities lead at the end of
the year due to other commitments. I
hope I get to meet some of you before
then as we’ll still be meeting twice
monthly up until the end of Dec 2011. If
you’ve never been, do come along as the
more the merrier! If anyone is
interested in taking on this role in the
New Year please feel free to contact me
for advice or Rachel Cooke, Chair.
Well that’s all for now, see you soon.
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Being a new mother should be a positive experience. Every new parent deserves
the support needed to become confident in caring for their baby, themselves and
in adjusting to their new role and their new and changed relationships with their
baby and partner.
Around three quarters of a million women give birth
each year in the United Kingdom (UK).
The quality of postnatal care provided to women and
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have a significant impact on their experience.
For more information...
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Membership from as little as £2!
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Join online at or phone 0844 243 7000
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Elimination Communication—the “no nappy” alternative
Elimination Communication (EC) is early potty training. I’d learned about it fairly
late on in my 1st baby’s life, but gave it a go. It involved giving my baby lots of
“no-nappy” time and having the potty close at hand and putting him on it when I
saw him do something which told me he needed a poo or a wee. I found the wee's
easier to do – he did what became known as a “wee shiver” a few moments before
a wee. Anyway, my son, who started this at 11 months, was out of nappies day and
night before last Christmas when he was 21 months old. As this had worked so
well for us and our washing bill (we used cloth nappies) I looked into it a bit more
during my pregnancy with Autumn. I got hold of a book called Diaper-free baby
(all the literature on this is American, as far as I can fathom). The book went
into more detail about “Natural Infant Hygiene” or EC, reminding us that as
humans we aren’t born to wear Nappies, and we actually train our baby’s to use
nappies, which we then have to train them out of at a later stage. We don’t
naturally want to soil ourselves, and so as babies, we communicate with our
caregiver that we want a poo or a wee, so that they can help us to do so. We
accept that babies communicate their other needs with us, such as wanting to
eat or sleep, so this idea is simply an extension of that.
“That’s all fine and dandy, but how can you actually do that with babies in the
real world?” I hear you ask. Well you can do it to greater or lesser degrees, full
time, part time or occasional. You’ll still be working towards the same thing –
promoting a more active communication with your baby about all his or her
needs. It is likely that if you do it full time, you are more likely to get a “Diaperfree baby” earlier than if you do it part-time, but that doesn’t stop it all
happening sooner rather than later. For me, the prospect of not having to change
nappies for 3 years was rather enticing. So I decided that I’d give it a go with
my newborn baby on a part-time basis.
During my pregnancy I began looking into more practical aspects of what was
involved in doing it with a newborn baby. I found a plethora of information on it,
including lots in parenting forums.
At nearly 2 months old I only had to wash about 3 or 4 pooey nappies a week,
meaning that I caught the rest in the potty. Autumn, really did seem to have got
the hang of that side of it really quickly – On day 4 we caught a meconium poo in
her potty which was very exciting, and after that we progressed to doing at
least one a day in the potty. We gave her a “pottytunity” each time we changed
Elimination Communication—the “no nappy” alternative
her nappy – if I was out and about, I simply sat
on the toilet and had her sat in front of me . We
used a ‘cue’ to do her wee – a “sssss” in the ear
for wee’s or a grunty sound for a poo. By the age
of six months she had gone a few nights and not
weed in her nappy at all... instead she wiggled
furiously until I put her on her potty, when she
proceeded to wee into it. She did this three
times that night which I thought was brilliant!
I’m really impressed that my husband has really
got into this as well, and really tunes into her
needs. He astounded a room full of women at a
birthday party -she started making her poo
sound - a repeated grunting - and he quickly
whipped her up off the floor, took her nappy off
and popped her on her potty where she did an
enormous poo straight away! The women were aghast at this, not just because of
the baby on the potty thing, but because of a dad being so in tune with his
baby! I was very proud.
Autumn is now 14 months old, and she has been out of nappies completely for
about 5 months. She no longer wees at night, choosing to hold it until her first
sit on the toilet after her morning feed. The transition was fairly gradual... we
continued taking her to the toilet at regular intervals, particularly transition
points, like the end of a feed, when she wakes and when she gets out of a fixed
seat. She will invariably wee at these times when we take her, but she will also
come over to us and make her wee sound (tends to be a sort of mini cry or uuu
uuu uuu) and we would then take her to the toilet. We decided to ditch the
nappies completely when I found that each time I went to take her for a wee,
her nappy was completely dry so we moved to simple training pants instead. I
find that even if we miss her wee, she does a kind of "pre-wee", which is a small
amount of wee, like a warning, then when we take her to the toilet, she will finish
I've loved this journey with Autumn, and feel pleased that we embarked upon
it. Like with newly toilet trained toddlers she will have the odd accident, but
that doesn't put us off continuing with it. And goodness me, what a lot of money
it has saved us in nappies and nappy washes! Happy EC'ing
Beth Roche, Sheffield Branch
Antenatal Classes with the NCT
NCT Antenatal Classes in Chesterfield
From where to give birth to knowing when your contractions are really getting
underway, NCT antenatal classes are a great way to find answers to all your
questions about labour and birth. Samantha Forde, our NCT Antenatal Teacher,
runs courses in Chesterfield once every 2 months that focus on providing you
with the information and skills you need to make your own decisions about your
labour and birth. Each NCT antenatal class is flexible to allow each group to
focus on their own needs and spend more time on the topics that are most
relevant to them.
Some of the topics we cover include:
Practical skills for labour, including breathing, massage and birth positions
Your pain relief choices
Realistic information on what happens during birth
Early days with your baby - practical baby care skills, relationships changes,
emotions after childbirth and often a visit from new parents with their newborn
to share their experience with you
Each NCT course also includes a session with a qualified
breastfeeding counsellor. These friendly sessions provide practical
information to help you to start breastfeeding and to consider
what life will be like with a new baby.
Courses take place over a weekend - Saturday & Sunday, from
1-6pm with the breastfeeding session on an evening, during the
following week (from 7-9.30pm). All courses are run at the
Grassmoor Community Centre.
You can find out more about local courses on the NCT website :
email [email protected]
Contact Samantha Ford, our Antenatal Co-ordinator for more information at
[email protected]
Antenatal Classes with the NCT (continued)
Ask for a copy of Patter at an NCT Event
Dates For Your Diary
Non members welcome - email or text Lindsay if you want to check if
the event is still on: [email protected] or 07766244047
Date: Tuesday 13th September
Details: Walk along Chesterfield Canal—Meet at Tapton Lock 10am
Date: Friday 30th September
Details: Stay and Play Queen’s Park—Meet outside Frederick’s Café 2pm
Date: Tuesday 13th September
Details: Walk along Chesterfield Canal—Meet at Tapton Lock 10am
Date: Tue 2nd Oct
Details: Walk in Chatsworth Park—Meet at main car park in Baslow 10am
Date: Fri 21st Oct .
Details: Play at the Jungle soft play area—meet 2pm.
Date: Tue 1st Nov
Details: Walk around Linacre Woods—Meet 10am at bottom car park
Fri 18th Nov – NCT parents’ night out. Time and Venue to be confirmed
Don’t forget Sure Start groups...
Including Holiday Play Schemes, Baby Weigh & Play, Stay & Play
Sessions, Music Workshops, Baby Peeps, Baby Massage, Breast Feeding
Groups, Dads’ Events and much more.
There is something on most days in most areas. For a full schedule,
please call South Lodge on 01246 283030, or pop into any of the
Sure Start Centres for a flyer.
— Pull out and Pin up!
See also
NCT Nearly New Sales
in the Area
Chesterfield Branch
Date: Saturday 8th October 2011
Time: 10am - 12pm
Venue: Annunciation Parish Centre, Queen Street,
S40 4SF
Amber Valley Branch
Date: Saturday 12 November 2011
Time: 10am-12pm
Venue: All Saints Church Hall, Smedley St, Matlock
Derby Branch
Date: Saturday 19th November 2011
Time: 10am-12pm (9:45am for NCT members)
Venue: Woodlands School, Blenheim Drive, Allestree. DE22 2LW
Derby Branch
Date: Saturday 4th February 2012
Time: 10am-12pm (9:45am for NCT members)
Venue: Alvaston Junior Community School, Elvaston Lane,
Alvaston, DE24 0PU
Volunteers Wanted!!
Do you feel you have something to offer your local NCT branch?
Volunteering needn’t be time consuming and it can be a good way of making
friends and building confidence and enjoying your new role as a parent.
We need volunteers to fill key roles or just to write an article for Patter or
help out at our nearly new sales etc.
Contact us at [email protected] if you would like to help.
Catherine’s Birth Story
Each issue we feature a unique and inspirational birth story
from one of our members. This issue we have Catherine’s
story of experiencing premature labour not just once but
If you have a story you’d like to share, please send it to
[email protected] and it could be our story next time.
I have two children Thomas age 4 and Benjamin age 15 months, both born
prematurely at 35 and 34 weeks. My waters broke with both boys on exactly the
same date – 30th April which was slightly spooky!
Thomas was born on the 1st May 2007 weighing 5lb 13oz (he shares his birthday
with my mum). My pregnancy was fairly straightforward, the only problem I’d had
was an abnormality found at my 12week scan, I was referred to Jessops for
further test which all came back normal. I was somewhat surprised when my
waters broke in the middle of the night at 35 weeks. I went into hospital for
them to confirm this, and they decided to keep me in and start off my labour.
Once Thomas was born we were able to spend some time together before he was
transferred to the SCBU. My husband went with him, and I followed later before
being transferred to the post-natal ward. This was a really emotional time for us,
this was our first baby and we weren’t expecting any complications. The nurses in
the SCBU were lovely, and explained everything to us in detail. Within a day or
two we were able to hold Thomas, and start changing his nappy and giving him a
wash. I’d spent some time with the Infant Feeding Advisor, and had started to
express breast milk in readiness for Thomas to be fed by a naso-gastric tube.
Once he was strong enough I was able to start to breast feed, this was a really
special and precious time for us. He developed jaundice which was treated
with light therapy treatment. I was fortunate to be able to stay on the postnatal ward whilst Thomas was in hospital, I was able to visit anytime and he was
able to feed on demand. We were discharged one week later.
When I discovered I was pregnant again, I expressed my concerns about having
another premature baby. My midwife advised that this was unlikely to happen
Catherine’s Birth Story
again and there was no medical reason for my previous early delivery. Again, I
went on to have a straightforward pregnancy. I had decided this time to finish
work early at 30 weeks, to spend some time with Thomas before the new baby
arrived. We were on holiday when my waters broke, we came back home and went
to hospital for this to be confirmed. I was even more upset this time, as I had
been reassured this was unlikely to happen for a second time. My labour started
fairly quickly and was stopped a couple of times for medication to take effect to
help mature Benjamin’s lungs. The decision was made to keep me in hospital and
wait for my labour to start again.
Benjamin was born on the 4th May weighing 5lb 1oz, as my labour had progressed
very rapidly my husband missed the birth, my mum works at the hospital and I
asked if they could contact her, She was with me when Benjamin was born.
Similarly with Thomas, I was able to spend some time with Benjamin before he
was transferred to the SCBU. I felt more prepared this time for what I was
about to see and the emotional side of things. Although, I was conscious about
how I would explain everything to Thomas. I stayed in hospital for one day
before being discharged home. This was a really difficult time for me, I
struggled with leaving my new baby in hospital, but also missed Thomas and
wanted him to be as settled as possible. The nurses in the SCBU were very
reassuring and I was able to phone anytime to be updated. I really wanted to
breast feed again, my milk supply wasn’t good, the birth was traumatic and this
had affected my supply. I was advised to take some medication to help this, it
worked straight away and I was able to express milk ready for Benjamin to be
fed via a tube. He was in hospital slightly longer than Thomas just because he
weighed less and he took longer to establish feeding. He was discharged home
after 2 weeks.
There was an excellent service of follow up care delivered to us by the
Community SCBU nursing team, midwife and health visitor, who visited almost
daily for the first week.
Both boys are growing very well, and there have been no significant complications
following their early delivery for which I am most grateful.
Catherine Nicholson
Infant Feeding Ruth’s page
Breastfeeding when things don’t go according to plan
Below are four fairly common situations that could affect the way you feel about
breastfeeding and include some self-help suggestions...
How might I feel?
What can I do?
Tired, frustrated, like
everything has gone
Restricted – awkward to
pick baby up.
Uncomfortable tummy,
tricky to find a suitable
feeding position.
Stay positive – many women have caesareans, wounds
heal, babies learn how to breastfeed
Sore nipples
Painful – puts you off
feeding; reluctance to
offer breast when you
know baby is ready to
feed; tempting to cut
feeds short because it
hurts (these things can
all reduce your milk
A small adjustment may be all that is needed to
resolve this. **Key points – hold baby close, with
whole body facing the breast – ear, shoulder & hip
in-line. Baby’s head free to tilt back, nose in line with
nipple, wait for baby to have a really wide gape –
baby’s lower lip touches breast first, well away from
the base of the nipple. Baby is relaxed, has a full
mouth, soon starts long deep sucks that don’t hurt,
swallows milk and on letting go of the breast, your
nipple is not misshapen or damaged.
Have your partner there & ask for someone with
appropriate skills to watch baby attach. Suggestions
made are then heard by both of you.
Remind yourself that soreness is temporary and
Look at the world through the eyes of your baby. Be
patient, sensitive to mood & watch behaviour– a crying
baby does not attach easily, see tips above * **.
Avoid using teats & dummies, express milk and give by
cup, have lots of skin-to-skin contact with baby,
offer breast frequently
Disappointed – it’s not
supposed to hurt
Baby won’t
Frustrated, rejected,
puzzled, surprised, upset, helpless
Mum and
Baby in
Premature birth – shock,
unprepared, physically
Poorly baby – worried,
emotional, stressed and
*Keep baby really close by, or next to your skin; use
pillows to support your arms
*Ask staff to help, try laid-back position, with baby
‘draped’ across you, gravity helps take baby’s weight,
rather than your arms
Visit baby / have photo of baby / contact with SCBU.
Important to kick-start the milk supply asap – ideally
within 6 hours of birth. Express milk for baby 8-10
times in 24 hours (by hand initially, then with a pump).
Small amounts lead to ounces over a few days. Ask
about Kangaroo care (s-t-s contact) with baby;
remember to express in the night – helps make more
milk. Expressing milk is one of the most positive
contributions to the health of your baby
New Arrivals
Breastfeeding Support
Each issue we announce as many births that we hear about from members of the
NCT. We’re looking forward to sharing in your special news and sharing it for you
so if you’ve had a special delivery recently, why not let us know
[email protected]
So special CONGRATULATIONS and WELCOME to our New Arrivals…
Amanda & Chris Heason and their baby girl, Mia born 22.02.11
Vicky Green & Ben Greaves with a baby boy, Jude born 12.02.11
Gilly & Mark with a baby boy, Alfred (Freddie) born 02.05.11
Stephen & Nicola and their little boy, Henry born 13.05.11
Katie & Steven who have had a boy, named Robin born 16.05.11
Lindsay and Gareth Lewis on the arrival of their baby girl, Caitrin Alys, 20.06.2011
Raymond & Helen have had a little girl, Isabella born 24.06.11
Phil & Helen, have had a little boy, Felix born 24.6.11
Bec & James and their baby girl named Olivia, born 24.06.11
Tricia & David have had a little girl, Charlotte born 01.07.11
Terri & Chris with a baby girl, Isabel born 7.7.11
Rachel & Andrew have had a boy named Matthew, 22.07.11
Melanie & Simon and their little girl, Francesca born 09.08.11
Dave & Sam have had a boy, Zachary born 16.08.11
Tom & Gil have had a little girl born 19.08.11
and finally, Jon & Abi and their baby girl named Sophie born 24.08.11
Thank you to Samantha Forde for passing the news on to us,
Best wishes to you all from Patter xxx
Local and National Breastfeeding Support Help lines
Chesterfield 01246 450074
Sophie Sheffield
01298 214213
0114 268 3520
National Helpline
0844 2090920 Breastfeeding Network
0844 412 4664
National Childbirth Trust
0300 3300771
Supporterline in Bengali /
La Leche League
Association of
Breastfeeding Mothers
0844 412 2949
Obstetric Cholestasis
This is my second pregnancy and so far it’s not been too bad. I’ve had the
occasional mood swing; tiredness; nausea that lasted far longer than it did in my
first pregnancy; but all pretty standard second pregnancy complaints.
Until, that is, I reached 29 weeks and my hands and feet started to itch.
When it first started I was happy to put it down to normal pregnancy itching
everyone says can happen and I was able to ignore it mostly; trying to scratch
my feet and drive at the same time was a bit of a problem though.
By the following day however, I was feeling tired from itching in the night and
as I arrived at work I was starting to itch everywhere. Still prepared to get
through the day, it was only on the insistence of a colleague that I got it
checked out. I was quickly referred to the Triage at Chesterfield Birth Centre
by my midwife and they started talking about ‘Obstetric Cholestasis’. After a
quick google I tried to be optimistic that it wasn’t OC or ICP (Intrahepatic
cholestasis of pregnancy). They sent me home on that Monday with creams and
Piriton and I went back a few days later feeling a little less itchy and sure it was
nothing to worry about. The fantastic midwife on AAU that day made sure my
bile acids were sent off for testing and I was still confident I was fine.
But by Saturday the itch became unbearable, I didn’t feel well, I was
exhausted and I was making myself sore with the itching. Luckily the team at
CBC Triage were fantastic, chased up my results and with bile acid levels of 24
and raised Liver Function Tests they had enough information to prescribe
ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) under the belief that I had OC. Within a week the
itching was minimal and four weeks later my bile acids have been as low as 4
from a high of 39 on the day I started the treatment.
But what is Obstetric Cholestasis and why should you be aware of it? The
exact cause is unknown, some studies suggest it is genetic – sisters and
daughters of those with it are more likely to inherit problems with their liver
too but it’s pregnancy hormones that trigger it off. The increased hormones in
pregnancy cause some of the bile acids in the liver to leak into the bloodstream
which results in persistent itching.
For the mother the problems are; the itching (pruritus) , nausea, feeling
unwell, difficulty sleeping, lack of appetite and possible jaundice (the latter
develops in 10% - 15% of cases, 2-4 weeks after itching starts). There is also an
increased risk of serious bleeding after birth.
Obstetric Cholestasis
For baby the full effects of OC are unclear although for a time studies
found that there was an increased risk of still birth towards the end of
pregnancy. More recent studies have found that in pregnancies that are actively
managed, with regular monitoring and medication, the risk of still birth is
reduced to 3.5% or less. What is clear is that the high level of bile acids in the
blood can make baby very unhappy in the later stages of pregnancy and they
may pass meconium in the womb leading to serious complications and an
emergency situation.
All of this information can be overwhelming, especially if OC is diagnosed
late in pregnancy, as it often is, in first pregnancies (there is a 60-90% chance
of it reoccurring in subsequent pregnancies, although it often presents earlier).
Later diagnosis often means there isn’t time to treat the condition effectively
using medication so parents endure a worrying, and itchy, wait to get to 36 or
37 weeks before labour is induced or a c-section is planned.
From my perspective, I was hoping for a chance at a vaginal birth after my
first pregnancy ended in an emergency c-section at 38+5. After discussing this
with my consultant I’ve been reassured that as my condition is well managed and
stable I’ll get the chance to go to 38+3 before they’ll start trying to encourage
baby on. I’ve requested a ‘Trial of Labour’, confident that baby will be well
monitored throughout. I’d like a chance to try to deliver vaginally but with the
knowledge that as soon as baby seems to be unhappy then a c-section is the
best route. At least this way I may succeed, giving me more choice with future
pregnancies. I’m grateful my consultant is supportive of this.
The reassuring feature of the condition is it should resolve within 2 to 8
weeks after birth although there may always be a sensitivity to certain
hormones in the future and this can impact on the choice of contraceptive
But for anyone else reading this who has never heard of OC there are
plenty of places for information and a fantastic, well run charity and support
site for those of you who may be diagnosed with this or are looking for further
information. Being so rare the condition can be daunting
but there is support and advice out there to help.
Gemma Phipps
For further information and support visit:
When our baby started hiccupping most of the night 30
weeks into my pregnancy, I guessed he or she was probably
going to follow in the family tradition and have some degree of reflux. I kept my fingers crossed I would be wrong.
Our beautiful daughter Lucy arrived two weeks overdue. We had been told hundreds
of times how tough it was having a new baby, so we didn’t think there was anything
unusual with hourly wakings, small frequent breastfeeds, unsettled times, evening
crying, and Lucy being upset lying down even for a moment. Things didn’t improve as
the weeks went by but I still thought this was just what life was like with a small
baby, and got used to never having more than two hours’ sleep. I knew Lucy had a degree of reflux, so we did all the usual things…. raising the cot and changing mat, keeping her upright after feeds. I really didn’t want her to use medication unless she had
to, so we put off trying gaviscon (which helps to settle stomach acid) for several
weeks. When we did try it, it didn’t work- it just constipated her and made her more
Then things got worse. She started screaming during and after feeds (not fun when
you are on your own breastfeeding in M&S and it feels like the whole world is
watching you). Her nappies were always full of mucous, and explosive. After a feed,
she would be beside herself for prolonged periods, arching her back repeatedly, and
we had to find all kinds of ways to help soothe her. She was totally unable to settle
herself and her reflux was always worse in the evenings- we got used to having a
tough few hours followed by waking every 30 to 60 minutes during the night.
Over the space of a few days when Lucy was 3 months old, things deteriorated
further. She started to spend long periods arching her back in a really odd way, and
then blood appeared in her nappy. We ended up in hospital where she had blood tests
and ultrasound scans to see if she had a surgical bowel condition. In the end, it was
decided her symptoms were due to an infection, but the penny had dropped with me.
She had cows’ milk protein intolerance (CMPI). I had been wondering this for a while,
but kept telling myself I was probably worrying too much, making a fuss, overmedicalising things, but I was sure now.
I cut all dairy from my diet, but needed to know that I was not a mad, sleep-deprived
anxious Mum, so we saw a paediatric gastroenterologist who confirmed the diagnosis of
CMPI. He felt that she was also intolerant to soy. We were told that she is likely to
outgrow these intolerances, although some children never do. But at least I knew I
could help her, I just needed to change my diet. This was incredibly hard. I managed to
stick to a dairy free and soy free diet (and I’m already vegetarian) and breast fed her
until she was nearly 9 months old. This is more of a challenge than it sounds, and than I
anticipated it would be. There are dairy and soy products in just about everything from
bread to pasta sauce. The thing I missed the most was a cuppa. Take it from me, rice,
oat, pea or coconut milk do not cut it in a mug with a brew. I could never grab a bite to
eat in a café, and had to take packed lunches to special occasions.
Within 2 weeks, there was a huge change in Lucy- she still had reflux, and she was
started on Ranitidine (a medicine to stop the stomach producing so much acid) but she
was much more settled, the change was unbelievable. This is when the guilt I already
felt got much worse. It was my fault she had been struggling, it was down to what I had
been eating, what my breastmilk was doing to her, and I felt I should have known or
acted sooner. I realise now that actually having a diagnosis by 3 months is pretty goodlots of little ones struggle on for much longer without a CMPI diagnosis, especially if
they are breastfed. The symptoms are much more obvious and often picked up earlier
in a formula fed baby. Then when I felt that I really needed her to start having some
formula, the guilt got worse. I had been made to feel by the Consultant that sticking on
the diet and breastfeeding her indefinitely would be a walk in the park, and that
considering using formula was a ‘cop out’. It really wasn’t.
Knowing that she may not tolerate dairy for many years made me keen to try to
introduce an alternative milk before she got too old and wise! Luckily I met a wonderful
dietician who was impressed by how Lucy was thriving, and totally understood the
challenges for me and also for weaning Lucy (I wish so much at times I could give her a
yoghurt!!) She felt that starting to add in a hypoallergenic formula would be beneficial
for Lucy as my diet was so restricted she may have not been getting all the nutrients
she needed.
Lucy is now nearly 10 months old. She is beautiful, funny, and loves dancing and ducks.
She is gradually increasing the volume of formula she can manage, and usually enjoys
her food (without any butter, milk, cheese….) She still has nasty reflux, and has just
started a new medication- Omeprazole. Feeding and sleeping are still not straight
forward, but I honestly believe that having difficult times in these early months has
made us amazingly close and connected, I feel probably more so than if she had been a
super-sleeping, super-feeding baby. Reflux and intolerances do not make for an easy
ride, but I wouldn’t change a thing about her. She is brilliant, just the way she is.
Catherine Donohue
Ask the Experts
Have you got a burning question you’d like to know the answer to?
Here at Patter we’re fortunate to have some excellent volunteers who are
able to offer a wealth of knowledge in other areas. Each issue they will be
answering your questions on a whole variety of issues to do with childcare,
parenting, feeding and health.
So if you have a question you’d like to put to our experts, send it to
‘[email protected]’ and we’ll pick out the most interesting, popular or
burning questions for our panel to answer in the next issue.
Q: My son has had dermatitis since he was a few weeks old when he
reacts to the slightest thing with a bumpy red rash over the affected
areas. Although we treat his skin daily with moisturisers
we can never get rid of a patch on his left arm and left thigh. Why
is this?
A: Dermatitis and eczema are very common in young children Fortunately
the majority will tend to grow out of it by school age. Emollients
(moisturisers) are the mainstay of treatment but some stubborn patches
may need a week or two of treatment with a mild steroid cream to settle
them down. Your GP should be able to decide if this is necessary and
prescribe the correct treatment. Sometimes in older children we can
confuse patches of eczema with fungal infections like ringworm which need
a totally different approach—see your GP for their advice. TG
Samantha Forde
Tara Jones
Health Expert
Ruth Oscroft and
Jo Glossop
Meet A Member
In Each issue we’ll be meeting a member of the NCT. For this
issue we’ve interviewed Gethin Jones, an NCT Dad
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Gethin and I am 32. I live with my wife and our
two year old daughter in Chesterfield. I work in the telecoms
industry. When I’m not working or looking after our little girl
I am passionate about motorsport and I have a single seater
race car which sadly is in the garage for an engine rebuild at present so
I am having to make do with watching the F1 on TV
Why did you join the NCT?
When my wife was pregnant several of our friends recommended NCT antenatal classes
as a way of meeting other parents-to-be and learning about what the birth might really
be like. We joined the NCT and went to classes in Sheffield where we used to live then
transferred our membership to Chesterfield when we moved south.
What has the NCT done for you?
The NCT antenatal classes were really good. As a bloke I was totally clueless about
labour, birth and babies in general. We made good friends with the other people in the
group and it is really good to see their babies growing into confident happy toddlers.
The group probably did more for my wife once I had gone back to work and I know she
really valued meeting up with another group on mums with children the same age to
share horror stories of sleeplessness and food refusal as well as celebrating milestones
What would you like to see happen with the NCT in Chesterfield?
I think it is a shame that the branch is so small - the NCT has so much to offer and yet
many people locally don’t seem to have heard about it at all. A dads and kids group
would be brilliant not least so the mums could get a bit of peace and quiet
Thanks for your answers Gethin, and for being our first dad to be interviewed!
In our next issue we’ll be looking to meet another member – so if you are interested
or you know someone else who may be interested in sharing their views on the NCT
please contact Gemma or Tara at [email protected]
Meet the people who make up Chesterfield NCT branch
Branch Chair
Rachel Cooke 07721010071
[email protected]
Caroline Young
[email protected]
Patter Distributor and
Advertising Co-ordinator
Jo Lilleyman 01246 819532
[email protected]
Catherine Nicholson
[email protected]
Nearly New Sale Co-ordinator
Alison Sweet
[email protected]
Patter Joint Editors
Gemma Phipps and Tara Jones
[email protected]
Events Co-ordinator
Lindsay Lewis 07766244047
[email protected]
Breast feeding Counsellor
Ruth Oscroft [email protected]
Area 6 PSA
Tara Hamilton
[email protected]
Antenatal Co-ordinator
Samantha Forde
[email protected]
Area Co-ordinator
Claire Annals
[email protected]
Regional Co-ordinator
Jo Wake
[email protected]
T Potts Ceramic Cafe
205, Chatsworth Road, Chesterfield, S40 2BA
Tel: 01246 221644
Get creative and
those tiny hands
and feet on tiles
and plates (with
prices starting
from as little as
Wanting a truly unique gift for that
anniversary or christening then we can help
you design a celebration plate, vase, platter,
teapot etc personalised to suit your style.
T Potts is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday
and at other times for children's parties/girlie
nights by appointment.
8th October
10 am—
At the
Annunciation Parish Centre
Queen Street
S40 4SF
The NCT Chesterfield branch
proudly presents Chesterfield’s original...
Saturday 8th October
10am - 12 pm
At the
Annunciation Parish Centre
Queen Street
S40 4SF
High Quality Babywear
Equipment, Toys, books,
Maternity Wear
And much, much more!
A dm
£1 ssion
refr includ only
esh ing
For more details contact: [email protected]
Please be aware that there are no crèche facilities at any
of our sales
The NCT is a Registered Charity No: 801395 © NCT 2011